Review laptop Asus ZenBook UX333 (UX333FN – Core i7-8565U, MX150 Max-Q)

The Asus ZenBook UX333 is a mixed bag. On the one hand it's small, well-made and strong, on the other hand it compromises screen brightness, typing experience and OI, and competitive prices may not be enough to compensate for all this. That's why we rate the UX333FN variant at 4/5 potential if it is proven to provide the expected performance of the hardware platform, while the UX333FA variant scores lower 3.75, because they sacrifice functionality and pale in front of alternatives currently available in thin and light niches . We will explain the reasons in the detailed article below.


  •     tiny form-factor, with small bezels and chin
  •     simple looks, solid build and nice craftsmanship
  •     not a bad screen, but glossy and dim
  •     solid performance once undervolted, even with games
  •     runs quiet with both everyday use and demanding loads
  •     punchy speakers
  •     competitively priced


  •     glossy screen, reduced brightness and no touchscreen option
  •     vertically cramped keyboard and touchpad
  •     limited IO, without TB3 or a full-size card-reader
  •     we need to further look into the performance in games
  •     PCIe x2 SSDs out of the box
  •     average sized battery, charges slowly and not through USB-C
 In this article we talk about the Asus ZenBook UX433FN, the smallest modern laptop with special graphics that you can find in stores in late 2018 and early 2019.

This is a 13-inch clamshell computer with a compact form factor, a small bezel around the screen and no compromise in terms of hardware specifications, battery life, and for the most part, performance. It is built on the latest hardware designed for thin and light computers at the time of the article: the Intel Whiskey Lake platform and Nvidia MX150 Max-Q graphics, paired with IPS screens, backlit keyboards and punchy speakers, all with an initial price of around $ 999 / EUR 899.

We have spent the last few weeks with the pre-production unit ZenBook UX433N before being released in stores, and collected all of our impressions in this article, with strong points and quirks. Our samples as far as I can say are identical to the final retail unit, but some aspects of performance and thermal can be improved with more mature drivers and few changes made by the manufacturer at that time. We will discuss all of these aspects in the article.

Disclaimer: Our test unit is provided by Asus for the purpose of this review, and then returned to them. It is a standard procedure and has no impact on the content of this post.

Specs as reviewed Asus ZenBook UX333FN 

Screen 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 px, IPS, non-touch, glossy
Processor Intel Whiskey Lake Core i7-8565U CPU
Video Intel UHD 620 + Nvidia MX150 2GB DDR5 Max-Q
Memory 16 GB LPDDR3 (soldered)
Storage 1 TB M.2 NVMe SSD (80 mm)
Connectivity Wireless AC (Intel AC 9560), Bluetooth 5.0
Ports 1x USB-A 3.1, 1x USB-A 2.0, 1x USB-C 3.1 gen2, HDMI 1.4, microSD card-reader, mic/headphone
Battery  50 Wh, 65W charger
Size 302 mm or 11.89” (w) x 189 mm or 7.44” (d) x 16.9 mm or 0.69” (h)
Weight 2.71 lbs (1.23 kg)+ .44 lbs (.2 kg) charger, US version
Extras : backlit keyboard, HD webcam, Numberpad, IR Hello Camera and mic array, available in Royal Blue or Icicle Silver

Asus offers ZenBook UX433FN in various configurations, with the Core i3-8145U Whiskey Lake, Core i5-8265U or Core i7-8565U processor, 8 or 16 GB RAM, and 256 GB to 1 TB of storage space, alongside the Nvidia GPU.

If you are not interested in games, you can choose the ZenBook UX433FA variant, identical to the FN model tested here, but without dGPU. Most of the aspects mentioned in this article apply to the FA variants as well, and this is also a bit more affordable, but potential users must consider the fact that once you drop Nvidia chips, this laptop will compete in a much more crowded niche. , besides other premium 13-inch notebooks such as Asus ZenBook S UX391, Dell XPS 13, HP Specter 13 or Microsoft Surface Laptop.

The UX433FN on the other hand, while not only 13-inch laptops with special graphics on the market, stands out among its peers because of small, lightweight form factors and various other specificities, which may be enough to compensate for some of the disadvantages.

Design and development

We will not discuss in depth in this section, because the UX333 shares its design and construction characteristics with the 14-inch UX433 series that we have previously analyzed in this other article, from solid build quality, to choices in materials, Ergolift and IO hinge designs which is quite limited.

The UX333 is of course smaller, even smaller than a standard piece of A4 paper, but thicker than the 14-inch variant and pretty much the same weight, at 1.23 kg (2.71 lbs) according to our precision scale. This laptop is available with a closed glass screen, like our test variant, or with a non-glare screen, in this case it only weighs around 1.1 kg / 2.4 lbs.

I have added a few pictures of the ZenBook UX333 next to the Dell XPS 13, which for many years have become standard between 13-inches because of their compact size. ZenBook is shorter, mostly because of the smaller chin at the bottom of the screen. But it can also bother you with big hands, both the keyboard, touchpad and armrests are shorter than most other notebooks. We will discuss the keyboard and touchpad in the next section.

Review laptop Asus ZenBook UX333  (UX333FN – Core i7-8565U, MX150 Max-Q)

Asus offers the UX333 series both at Royal Blue or Icicle Silver, and we get the first one here. The look is stunning and allows this notebook to stand out from the crowd, but at the same time shows stains and finger oil easily, so you have to keep cleaning cloth nearby. The silver version does a much better job at hiding potential stains and even scratches. Despite knowing Asus, they might not even offer a silver version in some areas, so if that's the case, you just have to go with Blue or another device.

Even if treated in depth at the UX433 review, I will mention IO here too, because this is one of the antagonistic aspects of this series. You get two USB-A slots on this laptop, one USB-C and a full-size HDMI, while the thinner alternative depends only on today's USB-C port and requires an adapter. At the same time even though there is no Thunderbolt 3, USB-C does not support charging and there is no full-size card reader, but only a slow microSD reader. I can't test DP support via USB-C, so I can't be sure if you can connect a 4K 60 Hz screen. You certainly can't get through the HDMI 1.4 port, but you have to look further into this problem if it's important to you.

Review laptop Asus ZenBook UX333  (UX333FN – Core i7-8565U, MX150 Max-Q)

This lower abdomen design is different from the UX333 from the UX433, because all internal parts are redesigned to fit a smaller chassis. The speakers are placed on the side, which actually makes them more difficult to cover when using a laptop in the lap, and there is a long air intake grill above the component, but is mostly covered in our sample and the air can only enter through the right side.

I think it's intentional, to change the air flow throughout the entire heatpipe, because fresh air enters the side of the CPU, runs on the components and heatpipe, and then is pushed out through the grill on the back edge. But it might be interesting to see if removing the cover and allowing air to flow through the entire grill will affect the temperature in any way, but I didn't do it in this test unit.

Speaking of that, the air is pushed out to the screen and the exhaust is placed in about one cm of panel with this design. This area cannot exceed 40 degrees Celsius with a lot of load, but it can have a negative impact on the panel from time to time, especially if you choose one variant with a matte screen, without extra protective glass on it.

Review laptop Asus ZenBook UX333  (UX333FN – Core i7-8565U, MX150 Max-Q)

Keyboard and trackpad

There is a miniature keyboard on this laptop and that can affect your typing experience, especially if you have big hands.

Unlike standard keys on most modern laptops which are usually square and 15 x 15 mm, these are rectangular and only 15 x 13 mm, which makes a narrow vertical layout. The layout also includes a small right Shift key and narrow arrow keys crammed in the lower left corner, as well as the Power button as the upper right button.

Given all this, I was ready for disappointment when I started typing on this laptop, but in the end I was almost satisfied. I don't have big hands though, and that's very important in this equation.

This keyboard is actually very fast, one of the fastest typers I've tested in the past few months, but the feedback is rather soft and you need to press the button firmly to enter the input correctly, which can be a bit challenging on this layout and cause a fair bit of error . I can't increase the error rate even after typing a few thousand words in this notebook.

This keyboard is also quite calm and backlit, with three intensity levels to choose from. You need to press the key to activate illumination after activation is disabled, because swiping your finger on the touchpad doesn't do anything, at least not in our test unit.

In addition, visibility is very good on the blue version of the laptop, which gets gold writing on each button. However, as mentioned in the UX433 review, you must always activate illumination all the time to distinguish writing from the Icicle Silver variant, which uses silver writing on the silver key.

Touchpad glass sits under the keyboard, centered on the frame. Because the size of the laptop is reduced, this is also quite small and short, one more nail in the coffin for you with big hands.

Because of this, Synaptics makes surfaces with Precision drivers and handles daily use, beats, movements and friction smoothly and reliably, without hiccups. The physical click is pretty good too, smooth and calm.

Our test unit didn't get the exact touchpad you found in the retail unit, which Asus offered with what they called NumberPad, just like other late-year ZenBook. It is very similar to the glass surface that can be duplicated as NumPad which is simulated with a special zone pressure in the upper corner, something for those of you who need NumPad might appreciate, because usually there are no such features on ultraportable laptops. I can't test it myself, but the impressions available online complain about delayed response and lack of haptic feedback, so don't expect this to be as practical as ordinary NumPad with physical keys.

Review laptop Asus ZenBook UX333 (UX333FN – Core i7-8565U, MX150 Max-Q)

I will also mention that there is no finger sensor on this laptop, but you get an IR Hello camera at the top of the screen, so you don't have to miss it when you can use a faster camera to enter Windows.

As the name suggests, the UX333 gets a 13-inch screen, with a millimetric bezel around its sides. Asus advertises a 95% screen-to-body ratio for this laptop, the highest of all notebooks on the market, due to the 2.9 mm bezels and especially the 3.3 mm chin.

The standard UX333 version, which is here and which you will find in most areas, gets a protective glass layer on the top of the panel, but a non-glare finishing version is also available. They are lighter (~ 1.1 kg / 2.4 lbs) and far more practical in a strong light environment without a layer of frosted glass, but at the same time the screen rigidity will suffer and some of you may also not appreciate the graininess of the associated standards with matte displays. I definitely take the non-glare variant if possible, but as mentioned earlier, you might not even get a choice in most areas, in this case you have to accept the application of glass or see something else.

In fact, you might want to do that in a good way if you plan to use your computer in a bright and outdoor environment, because Asus puts a dimmer panel on both glass / matte versions of this laptop, the same that they also use for ZenBook conversion UX362.

This is a pretty good panel, don't get me wrong, with deep black skin, good color reproduction and wide viewing angles, but a maximum brightness of only 250 nits is almost unacceptable today and when the competition offers 400+ panel nits on ultraportables the same price.

The panel also needs calibration to improve gamma, White Point and gray alignment, and you can use this color profile for that.

You will find some further technical details below, as well as color uniformity / illumination information, all recorded with the Spyder 4 sensor:
  •     Panel HardwareID: AU Optronics AUO5C2D (B133HAN05.C);
  •     Coverage: 100% sRGB, 74% NTSC, 79% AdobeRGB;
  •     Measured gamma: 2.3;
  •     Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 245 cd/m2 on power;
  •     Contrast at max brightness: 1130:1;
  •     White point: 7800 K;
  •     Black on max brightness: 0.22 cd/m2;
  •     PWM: N/A.

Hardware, performance and upgrade options

Our test model is a very high version of the Zenbook UX333FN, with the Core i7-8565U Whiskey Lake processor, 16GB RAM LPDDR3, Samsung PM981 MZVLB1T0HALR 1 TB SSD, and the Max-Q variant of the Nvidia MX150 special graphics chip.

As far as we know from the UX433 model that is already available at the store, most retail versions of this laptop must be shipped with 256 GB or 512 GB PCI x2 SSDs, and suppliers vary from region to region. This will not be as fast as Samsung's 1 TB PCIe x4 drive in our test unit, so power users between you may want to exchange storage. However, note the potential guarantee stickers on the SSD screws, which can mean that replacing the SSD will void the warranty. There are no stickers on this review unit, but there is one in the retail version of the ZenBook UX433s.

To get inside, you have to remove the entire bottom panel, keep it in place with various screws that are visible on the side (not the same size), and two additional screws hidden under the back rubber feet. You cannot update anything except for the SSD, because the CPU, GPU, RAM and Wi-Fi chips are all soldered on the motherboard.

Battery life

There are 50 Wh batteries in the UX333FA and UX333FN models. Both channels offer battery life similar to everyday tasks, because the MX150 chip is deactivated by Optimus, with differences only in games and other heavy loads that will use dGPU.

This is what we got in our test, with the screen set at 40% brightness, which is about 120 nits.

    5.9 W (~ 8h 30 minutes of use) - editing text on Google Drive, Better Battery Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON;
    5.8 W (~ 8h 30 minutes usage) - 1080p full screen video on Youtube in Edge, Better Battery Mode, 40% screen, Wi-Fi ON;
    5.3W (~ 9h 20 minutes of use) - 4K fullscreen .mkv video in the Movie application, Better Battery Mode, 40% screen, Wi-Fi ON;
    5.9 W (~ 8h 30 minutes of use) - Netflix full screen on Edge, Better Battery Mode, 40% screen, Wi-Fi ON;
    12.5 W (~ 4 hours of use) - browsing on Edge, Better Performance Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON.

Keep in mind that the review unit is pre-production, and you can expect a slight increase in runtime time with the final retail unit due to increased drivers. Replacing the CPU, dimming the screen and turning off keyboard illumination will also help maximize this battery, but don't realistically expect more than 5-6 hours of multitasking or 9-11 hours of video.

Our test unit is equipped with a compact and lightweight 65W charger, the standard design we have seen in ZenBook in recent years, with a fork attached to a brick-power. Full charging takes around two hours.

The UX333FA variant is packaged with a smaller 45 W charger and full charging takes a little longer. Excludes fast charging technology, which is surprising considering Asus bundles fast chargers with some of their other laptops, such as the Zenbook S UX391 or the ZenBook Flip UX362 line.

None of the UX333 can charge via USB-C, despite the fact that they offer a USB-C gen2 port, so you should always rely on the included barrel plug charger.

Final thoughts

I can't draw a final conclusion about the Core i7 / MX150 configuration from the ZenBook UX333FN based on our example, because game performance is very important in the overall equation and I can't say whether the final retail unit will work with our tests. model or maybe better. I can tell you that the performance is there, but whether it can or cannot last for longer game sessions still has to be explained in our future updates, so we hope to get the final retail product. Until then, take our findings with a lump of salt.

Apart from gaming performance, this laptop checks many right boxes as a versatile ultraportable. The ZenBook UX333FA variant loses the competitive advantage given by the GPU MX150, and has to swim in far more crowded waters, in addition to this generation's 13-inch heavyweight thin lights, such as the Dell XPS 13, Specter HP. 13, Microsoft Surface Laptop or Zenbook S UX391.

The compact form factor is the main selling point of this series, in addition to the latest generation of hardware and competitive prices, especially in the International market where Dell and HP products are quite expensive and Laptop Surfaces are not available. This is also one of the first 13-inch laptops with Whiskey Lake hardware, but because of the platform's specificity and limited advantages over the previous KabyLake-R platform in a concise form, it is not a determining factor in your decision. Other aspects such as build quality, typing experience, screen and IO should be, and while this ZenBook provides A values ​​for construction, keyboard, screen and IO throw it into the middle of the class.

There is nothing bad in any way, but the keyboard is narrow and somewhat inaccurate with my typing style, the screen is shiny and dimmer than what I want today, and IO is a mixed bag, with several port sizes, but also without proofing and future convenience of the Thunderbolt 3 connector.

With all this in mind, I feel that those interested in this laptop will find better value in either the ZenBook UX391 (lighter, thinner keyboard, brighter screen, Thunderbolt 3) or even the ZenBook UX433 series (a little more big, same weight, better keyboard, brighter screen, similar hardware and running cooler), both sold at the same price as the UX333s. And that's without even considering the Dell XPS 13 and other options mentioned earlier, which for the most part are more expensive, but also better devices with an improved keyboard, brighter screen, better IO, and a longer battery life.

That's how I fell about the ZenBook UX333FA series. The UX333FN can be a different story if it provides the expected performance, and games with ultra-compact notebook capabilities are what you expect. We will see, see further for our updates.

With that, we will discuss this here. However, the comments section below awaits your feedback and questions, so don't hesitate to contact us, we are ready to help if we can.

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